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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 January, 2005, 10:52 GMT
Sri Lankan cricket counts the cost
By Rex Fernando in Colombo

S Jayasuriya
We didn't know my mother's whereabouts for a few hours
Sanath Jayasuriya

More details are emerging of how members of the Sri Lanka cricket team have been personally affected by the tsunami tragedy that has devastated the island nation.

After Monday's news that the mother of former captain Sanath Jayasuriya had almost lost her life, the cricketer revealed just how close she had come to perishing.

On a trip to a local fair in her home town of Matara, about 80 miles south of the capital, fate came to Breeda Jayasuriya's aid when she did not use her customary route along the coast to reach her destination.

"She usually goes to the fair from the sea side, but fortunately she opted to take the other road as she had to pass a message to someone on the way," said her son.

"That probably saved her. We didn't know her whereabouts for a few hours, but finally the news came that she was safe."

As she was dragged towards the sea by the high waves, Jayasuriya's mother had shouted saying "I'm Sanath's mother, save me", and one of the brave villagers took the trouble to rescue her.

Left-arm seamer Nuwan Zoysa, who hails from Colombo, lost an aunt and four other relatives.

Galle International Stadium
Sri Lanka Cricket remains hopeful of resurrecting this stadium

Fast bowler Dilhara Fernando said: "Three of my wife's relatives were heading to Galle in the train when the waves came and they all lost their lives."

The vice-president of Sri Lanka Cricket, Aravinda de Silva, now has a huge task on his hands to resurrect much of the sport's infrastructure on the island.

He said: "Some junior cricketers are still missing and many other players who were living in the coastal belt have suffered damages to their houses.

"Most of them have lost their cricket equipment. We will do everything possible to help these players."

Galle has perhaps the country's most picturesque Test venue, overlooked as it is by a Dutch fort.

But it is currently in a terrible state. Many of the stands have been destroyed and only the two dressing-rooms, located in the upper tier, have been saved.

The venue is just a few metres away from the coast and the pitch is actually below sea level.

When the tidal waves hit, the stadium was an easy target and the outfield is now a mass of churned-up dried mud with debris strewn liberally across it.

But de Silva promised to start re-construction work soon and is hopeful the venue will be able to host one of the Test matches when the West Indies tour in July.

SLC is maintaining two refugee camps, one in the central town of Dambulla housing about 500 families and one in Matara, which is looking after around 100 families.

Cricket officials also intend to start another camp in Galle, one of the worst hit areas.

They will begin a relief fund on and leading some leading players have pledged to make personal donations.

A housing scheme is also planned.

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